HPD-Owned Vacant Tax Lots

Since the launch of Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York plan, the City has pushed affordable housing production to unprecedented levels. HPD has issued 35 public site RFPs for 77 affordable housing projects expected to produce more than 12,056 units. In fiscal year 2020 year, we financed a record 30,023 affordable homes, including a record level of affordable homeownership investment, with 16, 233 homeownership units. To date, we have closed on 50,656 new construction units and 114,934 preservation units towards our goal of financing 300,000 units by 2026.

The Administration has left no stone unturned in this effort – maximizing every available resource and pursuing development of affordable housing on both public and privately-owned sites. While the administration has been focused since day one on developing the remaining lots in HPD’s dwindling inventory of publicly-owned sites, many of those vacant lots and buildings face significant development challenges. That is why we continue to press forward on every site that is suitable for residential development with a sense of urgency, given the desperate need for affordable housing, but also mindful of the need to engage meaningfully with communities about the future of the sites throughout an extensive process of public review.

These efforts are evident in our progress over the past year to push more of our public sites into use for affordable housing, and otherwise reduce our inventory of vacant lots. Since the release of Housing New York 2.0 in November 2017:

  • The number of vacant lots in our jurisdiction has decreased overall from 1,009 lots to 831 lots, representing a 18% reduction. This decrease is largely due to the successful closing and conveyance of lots for affordable housing development, in addition to transfers to other City agencies of lots programmed for non-residential uses.
  • There has been a 149% increase in lots programmed for future affordable housing development. This is driven by the successful resolution of issues on lots facing significant challenges that now have a path towards development for affordable housing, ongoing planning initiatives in the Rockaways, and the demolition of buildings to create now-vacant lots for affordable housing development as part of ongoing planning initiatives at Willets Point.
  • When looked at together, overall, there has been a 15% increase in the number of lots subject to an existing RFP/RFQ or planned for future affordable housing development.
  • We have reduced the number of lots facing significant development challenges by 73% through the resolution of complicated site conditions, and the transfer of sites to other agencies, where appropriate.
  • Pursuant to analysis of sites in the flood plain, we have reduced the number of lots categorized as resiliency challenges by 88%. For example, of the lots analyzed as part of the Edgemere Drainage Study, approximately 30% are now classified as “future housing,” and the vast majority of the balance is “programmed for nonresidential use”.
  • Accordingly, our lots classified as programmed for non-residential uses have increased by 75%, and we are continuing to work with our partner agencies, primarily Parks and DOT, to effectuate those transfers.

Our vacant buildings show a similar story. Of the 45 vacant buildings in our jurisdiction:

  • The vast majority (35) are subject to an existing RFP/RFQ or are planned for future affordable housing.
  • A small number of buildings (6) face significant challenges, such as requiring park and/or street demapping actions to facilitate residential development.
  • The remaining buildings are in resiliency areas or programmed for non-residential uses, such as a building in an active Industrial Business Zone (IBZ).

Note: The number of vacant lots is constantly in flux due to routine administrative processes related to active development projects and initiatives, such as: tax lot mergers and subdivisions; street demappings; and acquisitions that are part of planning processes underway, such as Willets Point.

Tax lots are not equivalent to development sites or development projects, and many projects require multiple tax lots. For example, the Brownsville RFP’s three projects comprise 50 lots (12 recently transferred to HPD). More than 170 tax lots are part of the New Infill Homeownership Opportunities Program (NIHOP) & Neighborhood Construction Program (NCP) RFQ, which creates development projects made up of clusters of tax lots that are proximate (but rarely adjacent) as a way to increase the feasibility of these small and traditionally difficult-to-develop sites.